Thought Catalog

A Rational Explanation Of Your Girlfriend Asking You To Marry Her Right Before Breaking Up With You

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In case you’re wondering why your serious ex-girlfriends have brought up marriage shortly before tearing your still-beating heart from your chest cavity, they did it in a last-ditch effort to end the stagnancy and make you pull through as a white knight.

Unfortunately, it was also the last thing she could talk about with you before realizing that you were never going to be what she needed to justify her waiting (longer). The awkward talks she conspicuously instigated along the way, about your hypothetical futures together, represented the steady bottoming-out of her respect for your capability. So, she used the momentum from her pure disappointment to bury a self-fulfilling prophecy in the hollow of your relationship. You just didn’t see it until everything exploded. Or, maybe you still don’t see it, as you sift through the debris. Either way, I’ll break it down.

One year in, she had faith that you would see how special she was and passionately close the deal by Christmas with a proposal that reflected her uniqueness. Then, years later she could gush to seemingly interested third parties about how “sometimes you just know.” There would be couples dinner parties and Pajama Sundays with breakfast in bed.

You’d find the perfect series of homes together. First, the tiny apartment where you’d grow as newlyweds and christen every square inch of the place, including the closets. Then her dad would help the two of you find a spacious condo with a modest mortgage, two parking spaces, and a stacked washer/ dryer. She’d get pregnant a year or two after the wedding and you would hunt for the ideal starter home with a small yard, one which you would mow while she gardened.

Two years in, she thought you might be waiting for a promotion, or maybe your brother to move back to the states from living abroad. The nervous energy was starting to dam up in her frontal lobe, but it was imperative that she keep her cool and let you bring it up first. So, she waited.

By year three, she had grown slightly hostile. She began to believe that your spine had actually left your body and was living its own life somewhere at the bottom of the Atlantic, probably frolicking with like-minded single-celled organisms. While she was furiously mapping the outer branches of your respective family trees, and imagining the porch swing you’d share in your 80’s, you thought it was blissful being in a long-term relationship. But, for her, the dating was just a necessary evil, an annoying obstacle to becoming Mrs. [insert your last name]. You talked to your friends about how 26, 27, 28 was just too young to settle down. Sometimes you joked about never getting married at all. Meantime she and her friends were trying to figure out what the f-ck was taking so long. She vented a lot to her sister, who could sympathize. Their parents had gotten married after a month of dating and were still together, so maybe your relationship was doomed from the start because you couldn’t move in hyper-speed.

So the irritation and moodiness just festered. At first you thought maybe it was work-related stress, or an especially difficult period. Finally, you sat her down and asked her what was going on. Or, she picked a fight about dusting properly and you managed to identify the existence of a deeper issue. She hesitated, as some part of her subconscious recognized that there was no going back after she let this cat out of the bag. You pushed, and she blurted out something to the effect of “WHERE THE HELL IS THIS RELATIONSH-T GOING?!”

You either froze, having never really entertained the idea of marriage anytime soon, or you assured her that you loved her, and that the other things would come in time. Either way, she heard very little of your response. Mostly, she could not get past her utter disillusion. She had broken down, and broken countless promises she’d made to herself about staying strong. She had shattered every imaginary proposal you had performed in her head. That was something she would never forgive herself for, and looking at you was just a reminder of every time the relationship had and would fail her.

Somehow, you thought you had handled the confrontation rather well, because she didn’t mention it again. She got a little colder, even more distant, and dove into work. You tried to be patient, thinking it would pass. Unfortunately, every thoughtful date, every bouquet of flowers, every time you walked her dog, those were tragic efforts to buy time in her eyes.

Then she explained that it was not working and that she wanted something else for her life. Rather, someone else. She wanted someone who could take a chance with gusto and fulfill her notions of spontaneous romance, naturally paired with lifelong companionship.

What you never really understood was that she grew up playing with toy vacuums, easy-bake-ovens and baby dolls with obnoxious voice boxes. She spent years running from boys trying to marry her in grade school. Then she graduated from college and the chase stopped. She met you and you failed to pursue her with the vivacity of a Spartan warrior. You thought she would always be around. So, you lost her.

She catapulted you into limbo by breaking things off entirely because she finally grasped what it means to have grown up on Disney and be living in the 21st century with guys like you. There was no tunnel, and certainly no light at the end it. She lived through watching every romantic notion she ever had about you fade silently into the distance. You will never really get her back, because your hesitation made her feel completely flawed.

So, for next time, remember that if your special woman brings up marriage first, you might’ve already lost her. TC mark

image – hydropeek

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    • Anonymous

      Hmm. Not sure if anyone else feels the same but I’m seeing too much of this type of article on Thought Catalog recently. That is, something that’s well written but uses the writers’ own experience to assume that this is the case for *everyone*. I.e. if you replace every “you” in the piece with “me” or “I” then it just comes across as a personal blog post. 

      • Im12

        you must be new here

    • your friend

      While first reading I was hesitant and by the conclusion was entirely understanding.

      This is well written and explains a lot. Thank you.

    • JosephStash

      Hmm. Not sure if anyone else feels the same but I’m seeing too much of this type of article on Thought Catalog recently. That is, something that’s well written but uses the writers’ own experience to assume that this is the case for *everyone*. I.e. if you replace every “you” in the piece with “me” or “I” then it just comes across as a personal blog post.

      • Robert L.

        Hmm. Not sure if anyone else feels the same but I’m seeing too much of this type of comment on this article. That is, something that’s well written but looks exactly the same as another person’s comment. I.e. if you replace the first commenter’s name on the top of the comment with the other commenter’s name then it just comes across as a repost.

        • JosephStash

          I’ve got more than one Disqus account…sorry if it posted twice, was an accident if so (mods can remove one if they read this). 

    • Darkona

      I’m very sorry for all the girls raised on Disney, but indeed, it’s the 21st Century. Things change. Suck it up.

      Also, marriage is less and less important with the passing of time. It’s a tradition, and as such, someday will be part of the past anyway.

    • Anonymous

      yo women are psychos.  it’s shit like this why your man won’t marry you

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

      Normally I don’t like articles written about things like this on TC, but I actually agree with this. Even if it’s kind of sad, it’s true.

    • Eg

      Im sorry, but am I missing something? You expected him to propose dramatically at Christmas only a year in to the relationship? How does that seem realistic?

    • Jesssim6

      I feel So sad right now.

    • The_thanototic1

      While I understand, I don’t agree w the stance of the girlfriend. Why let things fester to this before putting the topic of marriage on the table? If it’s something this important, it should be communicated, like any other aspect of the relationship…

      • Melissa

        THANK YOU.

    • Anonymous

      Good lord. There is no such thing as a knight in shining armor made specifically to please you. People are not cartoon characters. You’re dating actual human beings with lives that revolve around more than you. Four years of dating before marriage is pretty standard. If you didn’t talk to him about it until it was too late, then you’re the one at fault. He’s not a mind reader for crazy women with unrealistic expectations.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      why did i laugh while reading this article, i don’t know

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.jeffries11 Lisa Jones

      This is exactly why I always asked guys that I dated during their first month if they had any plans to get married in their future (not in the next year or two or even three, but in their future). And I would also ask them what age they found it appropriate to get married and what age they found it appropriate to have children. If a guy said something that wasn’t even close to my future goals, why would I continue to date him? Heartbreak? I guess some girls think they can change men, but I don’t think I can. But I guess this ability to communicate effectively is why I am actually happy and married. And maybe also why I married a man with autism. 

      • Melissa

        that was an interesting point you made at the end. what, exactly, makes your husband unique as a life partner when it comes to being autistic…?  i’m really intrigued.

    • Maggie

      COSMOGIRL.COM

    • LS

      so… the guy told you he didn’t want to get married, yet he’s the one with the misunderstanding? i respect the right of people to preserve their antiquated attitudes well into the 21st century, but this article would’ve been a lot less obnoxious if it hadn’t been written in this “oh you misguided fool” sort of voice. 

      what you’ve done is basically create the impression of a humbert humbert-level delusional world. because it’s nearly 2012, it is no longer *at all* reasonable to assume that the natural trajectory of a relationship is marriage. if i were to speak to the “she” in this article, i would advise her to stop focusing on her fantasy world and begin focusing on the needs and wants of other people. perhaps she might even consider, i don’t know, communicating honestly with her significant other, rather than her girlfriends.

    • mags

      so she’s wrong for wanting and believing in marriage, but he’s totally cool stringing her along for several years with no plans to ultimately get over it and think about someone else’s desires? doesn’t add up. 

      • dv

        Totally, he should have ditched reality and been a Disney prince for her. It’s obvious.

    • Eh...

      Wait. I thought this was supposed to be a “rational explanation”?

    • Hauptma

      hey look i found a post on here about exactly why i don’t want to get married! god help me if i ever date a girl like this… ill deserve having my heart ripped out!

    • Sophia

      “she finally grasped what it means to have grown up on Disney and be living in the 21st century with guys like you. There was no tunnel, and certainly no light at the end it. She lived through watching every romantic notion she ever had about you fade silently into the distance.”
      YES.

    • dv

      I’ve been happily married for seven years and it doesn’t have anything to do with Disney and baby dolls. Grow up. If you’ve formed a gripe society with other girls aligned against the person with whom you share your life, you’ve already lost.

    • bee

      “What you never really understood was that she grew up playing with toy vacuums, easy-bake-ovens and baby dolls with obnoxious voice boxes. ”
      Please, this line just makes me feel ill. 

      How could this beast of a man possibly NOT want to gender stereotype you?

      • samanthaphoebe

        I think her point was that the kids of that generation are victims of gender stereotyping, and the hard part is getting past that sort of upbringing and learning how to deal with 21st-century relationships.
        It does come off whiney,  but I see her point.

    • Anonymous

      FYI: This was an entirely irrational rant made up of fictional characters and emotional reactions to minor life events… I suppose it’s good to see that it caused most people to over-react.

      • Anonymous

        I’m about to “like” my own article… is that narcissistic?

        • Guy

          Yes.

      • Guy

        I’m gonna assume you’re the author, based on this comment and the one below.

        “You” is not a fictional character.  I am certainly real.  You made a fictional crazy girlfriend for me?  How kind of you.

        “Oh, haha, I made up this absurd fictional situation and presented it as my actual thoughts, and you’re over-reacting.  How quaint!”  Unless this is really some post-post-modern-modern critique of the ineffability of “the author” and her relation to “realtiy,” or whatever, in which case I still don’t like it.

      • LS

        oh plz

      • Guest

        By over-react do you mean not like it and then say they don’t in the comments section?

    • http://mrianmbelcurry.tumblr.com/ Mr. Ian M. Belcurry

      Like I told my girlfriend when she quoted a scientific study that women are better at multi-tasking, and their brains are more active when they comminucate. 1) “So that’s why you all hate each other.” And 2) “That’s it, I’m going gay!” And then I quoted a scientific study stating that a women would not like hearing a scientific study saying guys may do something better than women. Guys know this.

      • ariel

        I’m a woman who is a horrible multitasker. It’s actually incredibly frustrating, I get hyper focused on things. Both of my best female friends are the same way. All three of us are very science and math oriented as well. I absolutely hated these studies when I took psychology classes in college. All I could think is, “we’re seriously still teaching people that men are better at math and women are good at multitasking and child rearing? It’s two thousand freaking eleven!” I really think a lot of these findings are a result of socialization. If you take a cultural psychology class it’s actually quite eye opening to see the flaws in reading these studies as black and white.

    • Samantha

      Funny. I asked my partner to marry me five minutes before breaking up with him for completely different reasons- I wanted to see how much attention he was paying. Of course he didn’t read the letter until after he threatened to kill me, so who really cares how much attention he was paying?! Bastard.

    • http://tesslacoil.tumblr.com Tesslacoil
      • Anonymous

        Great link

    • http://twitter.com/geology_rocks Haley F

      I don’t understand why she didn’t just ask him what he thought about getting married. 

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